I packed the tripod for our trip to the coast. We went to the beach both mornings, while we were in Port Aransas, to once again try to capture a shot of Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Venus together.
Yesterday clouded up just before Mercury rose. This morning the clouds threatened again, but danced between the planets. I took this shot looking above the south jetty on the Port Aransas end of Mustang Island. The lowest in this shot is Mercury, just above the seeping pink glow of dawn. Above it is the pair of reddish, smaller Mars just below and to the left of larger Jupiter. And then above them, and the brightest, Venus. The other stars above and to the left of the ecliptic are stars in the constellation Leo.
The red and green lights on the horizon are some of the channel markers that guide the ships through the channel between the jetties.
I used a tripod this morning with a long exposure and captured Venus (the brightest), then Mars (smallest, reddish), and Jupiter (just below Mars) together. If I zoom all the way in, I like to think I can also identify a dot washed out by the dawn near the tree tops that could be Mercury. If that’s true, I guess I technically have 5 planets in the same frame, if you count Earth. 🙂
Factoid of the day: the origin of the word “Thursday” is “Thor’s Day.” Thor is the Greek god of thunder, also known as the Roman god Jupiter. (according to wikipedia, anyway).
I went outside before dawn this morning, to take the garbage can to the curb. I looked up in the sky and saw two bright planets shining in the East.
I fired up my Sky Guide iphone app to get my bearings. Venus is the one above, and Jupiter is the one below. I was disappointed to not be able to see Mars, which should have been just above Jupiter, but it must have been washed out by the light of Jupiter. Mercury had just risen but was too far below my view of the horizon.
Tonight the sky is clear in Austin. The gibbous moon and Jupiter appear closer tonight than they will until the year 2026. So, I went outside tonight with my Canon PowerShot D-10 and tried a number of settings – stopping up/down, increasing shutter speed, etc, etc. This is the shot.
Gratuitous side note: As I was drafting this blog post, I was thinking about the fact that Jupiter and the moon will be closer tonight than they will for another decade or so… and for whatever reason a song popped into my head: Closer to Fine by the Indigo Girls, from their album with the same name, 1989. Don’t know why, but there it is. I love this song, as much as I did when I heard it two dozen years ago. Here’s the youtube link for you to enjoy, too. If you like this, then just listen to the entire album, it’s fantastic. Heck, listen to all the Indigo Girls’ songs. Great vocals, great harmony, great acoustic sound. A little factoid for you… the year after this album came out, the Indigo Girls were up for Best New Artist in the Grammy Awards, but lost out to… (wait for it) Milli Vanilli. Sad, but true.
I awoke this morning to the sound of Monte getting up and going outside. He had been planning on watching this morning’s quadruple conjunction of the crescent Moon, Jupiter, Venus and Aldebaran. So, I hopped out of bed too. I grabbed my camera and he dug out the tripod.
It was 6 AM and the sun was already starting to come up. An hour earlier would have been better, light-wise, but the event was clearly visible from our front yard.
In the shot above, Jupiter is on the top. Venus is below, it is at its brightest this month. If you look closely, you can see the star Aldebaran on the right side of the frame (vertically about halfway between the Moon and Venus). There is another faint star to the bottom left of Jupiter, but I don’t know what that one is called.
It was a pretty sight. It is always thrilling to see the dance of the moon, planets and stars. This morning the clouds lifted and we were treated to a great view.